You know the drill. Someone or something ticks you off. What do you do? Possibly grumble under your breath. Have an imaginary conversation with the offender and really tell them off. Probably you call a friend to vent your spleen over the matter…. If a guilty verdict went all the way up to ten, I’d have dialed it at an 11 for this one. Been there. Complained about it, too.
It’s part of being human. We’re relational communicators who are always seeking justification for what we say and do. So, we call our best friends who will always have our back and take our side, right?! What’s wrong with that?? Nothing…. And everything.
We all need someone we can talk to, but sometimes, in the process of complaining, or dare I say it? Even whining…. We often end up complaining more about things to others than we spend time praying about them with our Heavenly Father.
If you’ve been in church for a while—you know the passage. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We’ve heard it, and we know it, but do we believe it? When those moments happen—do we remember to be anxious for nothing? Do we remember that nothing needs to rattle us? Do we turn to prayer? Do we seek ways to be thankful through our worries and frustrations? Do we talk to God about it? Do we invite Him to give us His wisdom and peace? Do we trust God to be a sounding board for our problems?
I’m afraid that I’m pretty hit-and-miss with those questions. I’m not always good about praying first.
Of course, God doesn’t mind our discussion with friends, but He wants to guide us, too. When He told us to cast all our cares on Him, He meant it. But still, there’s a real temptation to think that God doesn’t care about those mundane matters. But that’s not what His Word says. We’ve got to get in the habit of praying about things more than we spend complaining about them.
While we’re tempted to go to others, let us remember that God is just a prayer away, too. Jeremiah 33:3a says, “Call to me and I will answer you.” Hebrews 1:1-2 reminds us that God is communicating with us: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
What would life look like if we did more to live by the truth in 1 John 1:3b, “…our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”?
What would life look like if we did less complaining and a lot more praying?